As studies begin for the implementation of 5G technology in Chile, new figures show that Chileans’ use of mobile technology continues to grow and, as of March 2018, there were over 12 million 4G connections in the country.
Despite its remote geographical location, Chile stands out on connectivity with the rest of the world. According to the 2018 Huawei Global Connectivity Index (GCI), it continues to be Latin America’s most connected country - a position it has held consecutively for the four years since the Index was launched - and ranks 33rd in the world. In the first ranking in 2015, it obtained 41 points, a score that has since shown a sustained increase and reached 48 points this year.
Chileans: smartphones and mobile Internet
This week, the Undersecretariat for Telecommunications (SUBTEL) published new figures for connectivity in Chile, including mobile Internet networks (3G and 4G) as well as fixed Internet and cable television. They show that all these services have been growing as well as the penetration of smartphones, the platform most widely used for mobile connections.
- As of March 2018, there were over 12 million 4G connections, accounting for 71% of total access to mobile Internet and representing a 62% increase on a year earlier.
- There are an average of 2.7 telecommunications services per 100 inhabitants and a total of over 50 million services of this type countrywide.
- Mobile Internet (3G + 4G) is the service with the highest penetration, with 91.1 connections per 100 inhabitants, up by 16.1% on a year earlier. This is equivalent to a total of almost 17 million connections.
- Out of all connections to mobile Internet, 78.9% corresponded to smartphones.
- 4G technology is replacing 3G. While 3G connections fell slightly, the number of 4G connections rose by 4.58 million over the previous 12 months. As a result, there was a net increase of 3.1 million mobile Internet connections.
- The penetration of fixed Internet in Chilean households also increased, rising by 4.7% as compared to a year earlier.
- In all, including both mobile and fixed connections, Internet penetration reached 107.8 connections per 100 inhabitants.
- Similarly, the connectivity of Chileans through mobile telephony showed an expansion and, as of March 2018, there were 129.1 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. SUBTEL also noted that the percentage of users with a contract has continued to increase, reaching 42.5%.
- Demand for pay television (cable) showed an annual increase of 5.7% and, in March 2018, penetration was running at 18 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, equivalent to 56.9% of households.
Undersecretary for Telecommunications Pamela Gidi drew attention to the figures and indicated that Chile must continue advancing in this field and, to this end, “increase annual investment in the sector by 30% from US$1,500 million to US$2,000 million”.
She added that, “this is the direction of the announcements made by President Piñera in his state-of-the-nation message, such as the construction of a digital highway consisting in a high-speed fiber optic network serving a large part of the country’s regions and schools and permitting open free-of-charge Wi-Fi in the most widely used public places”.
The Undersecretariat has already begun studies for 5G, whose implementation is expected to begin in 2020 and will help to prepare Chile for the “Internet of things” as well as to maintain its leadership in Latin America on digital connectivity.
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